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Traits of a Great Translator

Traits of a Great Translator

Translation services have become a core feature of modern business in a globalized world. It’s not only businesses that require such services. From people migrating to different parts of the globe to authors who wish to publish their books in different languages, the clientele for translation businesses is increasing worldwide.

Currently, people can hire these translation services from different regions and get their content translated fast. Nonetheless, it means people should be extra cautious in their choice of a translator.

Along with many providers offering quality translation services, most quacks in the market only care for fast cash at the cost of their unsuspecting clients getting sub-par quality output. Thus, it will help if people keep their eyes wide open when hiring a translator.

This post will share with you the important qualities that a translator should have.

  • Knowledge of the industry

Specialist knowledge of a particular subject matter is vital. However, there are other factors you must not ignore. Some of the traits of a great translator also involve having a good command of CAT tools, being computer savvy, and having decent touch-typing skills.

More so, if you’re planning on working in jobs with other translators or working for a translation company. It will also help if you understand your way around CAT tools to make you more competitive in the market and make your job more efficient.

  • Great vocabulary

A great translator should have a broad lexicon, not just in the foreign language but in their mother tongue as well. That makes the entire translation process manageable and the translation’s quality higher.

On top of that, it’s convenient for a translator to obtain technical terms in certain fields like sciences, law, business, and many more.

  • Resourceful

The most skilled translators use all the resources available to them, like industry-specific dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries. The best translators also use encyclopedias and participate in language organizations, language forums, and chat groups to make sure their translations are exact and accurate to the meaning of the source documents.

Take note that words could have different meanings, and the knowledge of that is essential to bring across the intended source document's meaning. Picking the best-translated word to bring across the proposed meaning is a talent that develops over time.

  • Specialization

Another thing one can’t underrate is specialist knowledge, and that involves having a specific area of expertise. Other jobs need a comprehensive understanding of a given subject. That’s something not all translators can provide.

Narrowing your translation services to a few areas of expertise might limit you from having potential clients, but it may be helpful in the end. You see, having your niche will send you more potential clients, a signal that you’re an expert in the field.

That’s more valuable than concentrating on more general translations. Furthermore, you won’t need to compete with different non-specialized translators.

  • Translation skills

A great translator should have a particular linguistic education. You should not simply master one foreign language you work with but also the skills of translation. On top of that, you should be eloquent, poised, and engaging with the crowd.

  • Cultural knowledge

Excellent translation skills need cultural understanding. Take note that you are not just taking words in one language and translating them into another. You should retain the sentiment and meaning behind them.

Often, that could suggest going in various directions altogether. For instance, you are translating a website for an investment company from English to German. The English page’s content is effusive and enthusiastic and utilizes many lingos.

Without knowledge of German culture, you might just present your client with the word-for-word translation. Nonetheless, you might approach it in a different way if you did have that special knowledge.

  • Financial management skills

Big, international companies may hire translators full-time, but most work is done through freelancing. If you have encountered freelancing, you understand you should handle your finances thoroughly.

You might not be paid at the same time every week or month. That depends on the translation firm. Also, you may not be paid the same amount.

That’s why one of the skills needed to become a translator is financial management and budgeting as well. The better you are at handling and saving money, the more likely you can keep a long-term career.

  • Self-motivation 

Translating is independent work. After you understand how to become an online translator, your next step is to stay motivated. You will not have a boss or colleagues to keep you on track. Furthermore, you must get up, stay focused and get the work done.

  • Typing skills

The ability to touch-type and type quickly saves translators a huge amount of time and boosts your productivity. Indeed, neither extensive typing speed nor skills are enough to cover the multitude of functions that CAT tools provide.

Nonetheless, they do play a crucial role in the translation process by helping you work a lot faster. Considering that you must translate thousands of words each day, it’s crucial to type as quickly as possible with few or no mistakes.

Moreover, touch-typing helps you keep your eyes on the screen without taking your fingers off the keyboard and losing time. As you can relate, looking away from the screen to look for symbols on your keyboard could cost you critical seconds.

  • Soft skills

At the end of the day, it is people’s skills that make the difference. Establishing rapport with clients, communicating constructively, and working as part of a team are vital for any translator to stand out from the crowd, irrespective of the professional orientation you adopt.

Other soft skills that clients look for are willingness to reply fast, flexibility, and humility to accept and implement feedback.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, a successful, great translator is one who combines soft and hard skills to offer remarkable linguistic work and the best customer service. Do you have all the skills above to become a professional translator? Which of these characteristics are you willing to adopt?

Share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments below.

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